How I Made $2,100 from an Online Course before Creating It (Part 4: Gather Feedback & Analyze It)

Several months ago, I made $2,100 by selling my online course before spending a single dime or minute creating it. This is part 4 of a series of posts that show you how I did it. Check out Part 1: What you NeedPart 2: Pick an Idea, and Part 3: Survey & Freebie.

The next step after surveying people about their main pain points and creating a free resource for them is to gather feedback and analyze it.


Gathering Feedback

The purpose of getting feedback is to learn what people think about your free resource – the short video, report, or ebook that you already created (in my case, it was an ebook about Time Zone Meeting Coordination).

In this step, you want to understand whether you really solved their main problem and if you could improve on your ebook.

Here are a few questions you could ask:

  • What did you like most about the ebook?
  • How do you think it could be improved?
  • What else would you like to see?

Wait for a few days before asking those questions so that you give your readers enough time to go through the material.

I typically set my AWeber email autoresponder to go out 3 days after they download the ebook.

While you’re waiting on feedback, continue surveying people and listening on social media about the problems your audience is facing.

Document everything (I mean EVERYTHING).

I kept a Microsoft Word document and just copy/pasted every single tweet, comment, and email message I received.

Here’s just a portion of the notes I gathered.

Some of my notes

Those notes proved to be invaluable later.

In fact, I still refer to them when I’m brainstorming new products that I want to come up with.


Analyze Feedback

After you gather feedback about your freebie and the problems your target market is facing, your next step is to analyze all the responses.

This step is about understanding what people really want at a high level.

Look through all your answers for common patterns, and start categorizing the pain points into separate themes.

The idea here is to group problem areas together and give them separate category names.

Analyzing feedback is not going to be easy. Your head is going to hurt because you have to think really hard about what people actually want.

There are going to be patterns that don’t make sense, and others that are going to overlap.

That’s ok.

You can always change things around later.

However, it’s important that you spend a lot of time on this step because it will be the foundation of your online course.

If things get too frustrating, then sleep on the analysis for few days and get back to your notes with a fresh mind later.


My Analysis

During my own analysis of the feedback I received about virtual teams, I came up with list of around 6 or 8 high-level buckets of pain points, which included:

  1. Problems with online meetings
  2. Trust/ Accountability with team members
  3. Lack of Face-to-Face discussions
  4. Communication issues
  5. Technology tools for collaboration
  6. Cultural problems
  7. One-offs

The last bucket, “one-offs” was used to throw in anything that didn’t fit into any of the other categories.

I then grouped all the comments and replies I received as bullet points under each those buckets to help me see the patterns of problems within those categories.

For example, under the “Problems with online meetings” bucket, I had some of the following responses documented:

  • How do you keep attendance high?
  • Punctuality, when participants are late, especially if it is customer facing and the customer is on time
  • Agenda is presented but the meeting carried off on a tangent.
  • Handling the projects in different timezones

Note that I kept the wording of the responses exactly as I received them because it’s important to use the same language your audience uses when you want to sell them something later.


Optional – Redo Part 3: Survey & Freebie

After you’re done with your analysis, an optional step is to redo part 3 of this series of posts which is about developing another survey based on your analysis, and creating another freebie.

Click here to read how to implement Part 3: Survey & Feedback

In short, you pick one category from your analysis and you’ll go back to your audience to ask them even deeper questions about what they want and what problems they’re facing within that category.

You’ll then create another free resource for them that will provide even more value.

Again, this step is entirely optional. However, if you decide to do it, you’ll achieve a few things:

  • You’ll further prove to your audience that you are an expert in that domain
  • You’ll show them that if you’re willing to provide that much value for free (two free resources instead of one), then your paid stuff is going to be a lot more valuable
  • You’ll have more information about your audience (market research) that’ll help even further in developing your course

You can then use that second freebie as your new “bribe” to get people on your email list so that you’ll have more potential customers down the line.


What I Did

In my case, I picked the “Communication issues” bucket and focused on that with my subscribers.

I asked detailed questions on LinkedIn, my email list and Twitter about the communication issues they were facing with their virtual teams and why they were facing them.

I then created a second freebie, which was a series of videos (a total of around 35 minutes) called “3 Best practices for effective communication,” and posted that on my blog as my new bribe to get people on my email list.

The responses to that second freebie were actually better than the ones I got for my free ebook, which was awesome.

In fact, that video series is still on my blog and brings me in tens of new subscribers every month.

Click here to check out how the video series sign-up page looks like.

An added benefit of those videos was that they gave my audience a flavor of my style in teaching a course.

I also still had my first freebie (the ebook) which I used as a bonus for my paid course later on.


The Next Step

The next step after gathering feedback and analyzing it is to create an outline for your course and to set a price for it.

In my upcoming post, I’ll be discussing that step in detail, so make sure you sign up in the top right corner to receive an email notification when I publish it.



P.S. Do you have any questions about conducting your feedback and analysis? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Wonderful article! I am going to use some of those advices :) don’t stop! You have a wonderful talent!